Thursday, December 29, 2011


The wrapping paper's been recycled. The turkey's long gone (although lots of soup is waiting in the freezer!). The baking's been gobbled up and the ornaments will soon be packed away.

So what's left?

Laughter, love, memories... and a few goofy gifts that make me laugh every time I see them. As well as a recharged battery.

I pulled up my pre-nano story and decided to read through it up until the revising point I was at before my nano story absorbed me. Of course, I can't just read through - I have to tweak and edit and rearrange bits and pieces. It's slow going, but I'm loving the story. It still needs some work (and that last chapter...), but it's not bad at all.

Nice feeling!

How's your writing going in these last days of 2011? Any other recharged batteries out there?

Friday, December 23, 2011


A bunch of us over at From the Write Angle are sharing our thoughts on what Christmas means to us. Pop on over and share some of your best memories - mine involves a favourite family recipe!

I'll be taking the next few days or more off to enjoy some time with my family and friends. I hope you're able to do the same! May your days be filled with joy, wonder, love and laughter!

Monday, December 19, 2011

Getting to Know You...

I'm over at From the Write Angle today talking about how writers get to know their characters. I hope you'll pop on over and share your secrets!

Friday, December 16, 2011

Deja Vu

The Deja-vu blogfest is here! Our lovely hosts are DL Hammons, Katie Mills, Lydia Kang, and Nicole Ducleroir. The idea is to search and find a blogpost you think deserves a second look. I like this one because, even though I wrote it about 2 years ago, I feel the same.

"The idea is to write so that people hear it and it slides through the brain and goes straight into the heart."

-- Maya Angelou

My thoughts turned to Maya Angelou after hearing of her health scare. From what I can gather, she is still in hospital, but doing well. Hopefully that continues.

Maya has written so many wonderful things, and she is very quotable. I love the quote at the top of the post. To me, good story telling does just that. It touches the heart. I hope one day to be a strong enough writer to touch the heart of my readers. What an accomplishment that would be!

Many authors over the years have touched my heart. I vividly remember reading the Anne of Green Gables series when I was a child. Anne Shirley is a character who has stayed with me for years. I've reread her stories, and passed those books on to my daughter and my students. Anne's gutsy, optimistic, fun-loving, dramatic attitude has had so many readers fall in love with her over the years. Lucy Maud Montgomery is definitely one of those authors whose writing has arrowed straight to my heart.

How about you? Who was the first author or character who really touched your heart?

Monday, December 12, 2011

Untraceable & SR Johannes

I'm thrilled to be hosting SR Johannes, talented author of Untraceable, here today. Shelli's agreed to answer some questions and give us some insights into the way things work for her!

What’s your favorite part of the writing process?
That moment when everything clicks and you can't type fast enough and the story is falling into place and you don’t want to stop because it feels so good that you had a breakthrough after months of writing crap. I love that.

Do you have your own writing spot in the house? What’s it like?
It’s my office. Jealous? Don’t be…

Because it also acts as a storage area for unread ARCS, a place for unfiled bills to stack, a place where kids want to play on the computer. The recycling room for all things paper. It’s also a place where Hubby can’t keep his side of the partner desk clean! Arg.

How do you feel about writing in public (coffee shop or library)?
I’m not good at it. I have ADHD so I get easily distracted.

In coffee shops - I have this bad habit of drinking coffee. Go figure. Then I get all wired up and can’t focus because heaven forbid if I ate because coffee is so much better for me than muffins. So I start listening to other people’s conversations and getting involved in their lives in my head.

In libraries, I can’t talk out loud to myself, which is what I do when I write. So librarians would hate me because I am “crazy lady who talks to herself” writer.

At least if I get distracted at home – it can be productive like laundry or cleaning or eating or Googling. :)

And a couple of quick questions just for fun:

Favourite beverage?
Morning - coffee with flavored cream
Mid-day - Sweet tea (I force myself to drink some water just to feel healthy)
Night (well not EVERY night) – wine or very dirty martini

Favourite season?
Fall. I love to be cozy in sweaters and jeans and UGGs. Then again, I wear jeans and UGGs all year long. And I wonder why Top Model hasn’t called. Hm.

Favourite animated character?
Oh gosh. I’m a mom so this is hard b/c THERE. ARE. SO. MANY. I think the characters in Despicable Me and Ice Age movies are hilarious. But overall, I always loved the Pink Panther. (Great choice!)

Favourite TV show?
Right now? Iron Chef and Chopped. I love reality shows that are competitions. I love Modern Family and Terra Nova. Overall I loved Ally McBeal and Friends (Am I showing my age yet?)

Great answers! :)
Thanks so much for visiting, Shelli! If you haven't picked up Untraceable yet, you should (paperback, Kindle, Smashwords)! It's a fabulous YA adventure story with all kinds of twists and turns. Check out my review here.

So, what's your answer to one of those quick questions?

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Leap of Faith

It doesn't take much. A look. A word. A non-response.

All your carefully built confidence comes crumbling down. That risk you took - that teeny tiny step towards the next level - suddenly seems like a ridiculous stretch. And the chasm is widening while you're in mid-leap.

You can't sprout wings to reach the other side. You can't go back.

So, you fall.

A long way.

The crash hurts. A lot.

You get up, pout about those bruises for a minute. Maybe two. Then you face a choice. Go backwards to safety. Or forwards to the unknown.

Not much of a choice really. You take a deep breath, put away the pout, and take that first step. Forward. Up the next ridge. Up into the future. To the next risk.

A little warily, but a little wiser too.

Building the strength to make the next leap of faith.

Alex J Cavanaugh hosts the Insecure Writer's Support Group the first Wednesday of the month. Check out his blog for a list of all the participants.

How do you recover from those falls?

Wednesday, November 30, 2011


Wow! Just finished Shelli Johannes' Untraceable and had to write this post. Right now.

It's that good. As good as the cover - which I love! :)

Grace is a fabulous character. She's tough. She's smart. And she'll break your heart. She doesn't sit back and let life happen. She grabs it by the ears and tries to shake it into making sense.

All of the characters in the book are so real - even the secondary characters are flesh and blood. Shelli makes them really come to life.

Grace lives in the Smoky Mountains and she loves them. She and her dad spent many happy hours in them, but now he's gone missing and after several months, most people believe that he's gone. Grace wants to prove them wrong.

Grace is so real - touched by grief, pain, hope, love, loss, lust and terror. You'll love the rollercoaster ride of emotions she takes you on.

The action is awesome. At about the 70% mark, the world stopped mattering so much to me. Supper? Fend for yourselves. NaNo? Not tonight. Sleep? I don't think so!

So, do yourself a favour, go grab yourself a copy. And clear out a little time. You won't want to be disturbed!

Shelli will be back here in a couple of weeks for an interview - can't wait to learn more about her!

Here's where you can find the book...
Barnes & Noble

In the story, Grace has to survive in the bush and hide from ... well, you'll have to read the book it to find out. :) How would you do on your own in the bush?

Monday, November 28, 2011

Querying that NaNo

I'm over at From the Write Angle today talking about querying that NaNo novel. I hope you'll pop on over and join the discussion.

I finished up the 50k on Saturday - but I'm nowhere near the end of the story. I do believe some major editing will be happening in the new year! :)

(I turned off comments here hoping you'll pop on over to say hi at FTWA!)

Monday, November 21, 2011

Voice Choice

Do we have a choice with our voice? Not the one we speak with, but the one we write with. Are our voices an integral part of us - like our vocal voice?

My main characters vary depending on my story and the age level I'm aiming at. A 10 year girl testing out a new planet for the first time has a very different voice from a 30 year old man working on a cattle ranch. If not, I'm doing something wrong! :)

But my voice stays kind of the same throughout. I use the same mix of long and short sentences. I adore sentence fragments and they show up everywhere. I have a lot of short paragraphs - often one liners - no matter what genre I'm writing. None of my paragraphs go on for very long.

My sense of humour stays the same and probably shows up in the same way. I'm not a huge fan of reading or writing description, so that's going to be consistent as well.

There are changes with each story of course, because the main characters have a lot to say in the story, but I think my voice remains more or less the same.

And I'm okay with that. Will I ever get to this point?

Probably not, but I'd like to!

What about you, does your voice change with your stories, or does it remain the same no matter what you're writing?

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Devil on a Sparrow's Wing

Good news!!! Calista Taylor's 2nd book is out and about!

Devil on a Sparrow's Wing (book 2 in her Virdis series) follows more of Phoebe's adventures in Steampunk London. Independent, passionate Phoebe and brilliant tinkerer Seth are trying to help the poor of England, and rebellion is approaching. Gavin, Seth's Scottish pal, has a large part in this new book - he's a fabulous character. And that accent? You're going to love it!

Phoebe has developed another herbal - Sanctis - which enhances the senses in a way that will give the rebels a distinct advantage. I don't want to reveal any spoilers, but the story takes some twists that you will NOT see coming. You know you're in for adventure when, within the first few pages, Seth gives Phoebe a leather corset he's designed to withstand attacks by fuse guns, pistols and knives!

Calista isn't afraid to let the characters take the lead. You'll be cheering for Phoebe, Seth and Gavin and your heart will be pulled right into their story. It's an incredible tale!

Devil on a Sparrow's Wing is available on Amazon and Smashwords. It'll be up on B&N soon. Only $2.99!

The new book stands on its own, but if you want the full experience & you haven't picked up Virdis yet, it's still free at Amazon, Smashwords & Barnes & Noble.

Visit Calista at her blog: A Steampunk Reverie. Check out the first chapter there to get a glimpse into the book.

Calista also has a steampunk craft book coming out through Fox Chapel Publishing - the tentative date is May 2012. Not only did she design and create everything in the book, she took all the photographs and, of course, wrote up the instructions. She is one talented lady! She also created the gorgeous covers for both of her novels. She's got some tips over at From the Write Angle if you'd like to try it yourself.

So, if you're interested in a steamy, intriguing romance that's packed with adventure, check out the links. You won't regret it!

Have you tried designing your own cover - even just for fun?

Friday, November 11, 2011

Chart Rush!

Today is THE day to help Jessica Bell's debut, STRING BRIDGE, hit the bestseller list on Amazon, and receive the all-original soundtrackMelody Hill: On the Other Sidewritten and performed by the author herself, for free!

All you have to do is purchase the book today (paperback, or eBook), November 11th, and then email the receipt to:


She will then email you a link to download the album at no extra cost! (Trust me, you're going to love the musics - check out my thoughts on yesterday's post - Jemi)

To purchase the paperback:

To purchase the eBook:

To listen to samples of the soundtrack, visit iTunes.

If you are not familiar with String Bridge,  check out the book trailer:

Rave Reviews for String Bridge:

Jessica Bell’s STRING BRIDGE strummed the fret of my veins, thrummed my blood into a mad rush, played me taut until the final page, yet with echoes still reverberating. A rhythmic debut with metrical tones of heavied dark, fleeting prisms of light, and finally, a burst of joy—just as with any good song, my hopeful heartbeat kept tempo with Bell’s narrative.~ Kathryn Magendie, author of Sweetie and Publishing Editor of Rose & Thorn Journal

“Poet and musician Jessica Bell's debut novel String Bridge is a rich exploration of desire, guilt, and the difficult balancing act of the modern woman. The writing is lyrical throughout, seamlessly integrating setting, character and plot in a musical structure that allows the reader to identify with Melody's growing insecurity as her world begins to unravel … String Bridge is a powerful debut from a promising writer, full of music, metaphor, and just a hint of magic.” ~ Magdalena Ball, author of Repulsion Thrust and Sleep Before Evening

Jessica Bell is a brilliant writer of great skill and depth. She doesn't pull back from the difficult scenes, from conflict, pain, intensity. She puts it all out there, no holds
barred, no holding back. She knows how to craft a scene, how to develop character, how to create suspense. This is an absolutely brilliant debut novel. I look forward to reading her next novel, and next and next.” ~ Karen Jones Gowen, author of Farm Girl, Uncut Diamonds and House of Diamonds

Please TWEET and/or FACEBOOK this post using #StringBridge!
So, what are you waiting for? :)

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Jessica's Melody

My multi-talented bloggy friend Jessica Bell has released her novel String Bridge along with a companion CD Melody Hill - On the Other Side. (I told you she was multi-talented!)

You HAVE to hear her music. It is haunting ... and lovely ... and so very beautiful. Jessica's voice blends with her guitar and the other instruments to create a unique experience you're going to love! The tempos change and build and draw you further and further in. She's going to touch your heart. Don't believe me? Check this out...

Excited yet? You should be! I've played her soundtrack several times while writing and it definitely a mood setter!

Jessica Bell is a literary women's fiction author, poet and singer/songwriter who grew up in Melbourne, Australia, to two gothic rock musicians who had successful independent careers during the '80s and early '90s.

She spent much of her childhood travelling to and from Australia to Europe, experiencing two entirely different worlds, yet feeling equally at home in both environments. She currently lives in Athens, Greece and works as a freelance writer/editor for English Language Teaching publishers worldwide, such as HarperCollins, Pearson Education and Macmillan Education.

In addition to String Bridge, Jessica has published a book of poetry called Twisted Velvet Chains. A full list of poems and short stories published in various anthologies and literary magazines can be found under Published Works & Awards, on her website.

From September 2012 Jessica will be hosting the Homeric Writers' Retreat & Workshop on the Greek island of Ithaca, home of Odysseus.

So, where can you pick up these goodies?

Soundtrack on iTunes
Soundtrack on
Soundtrack on Amazon UK

ebook on
ebook on Amazon UK

paperback on
paperback on Amazon UK
paperback on Barnes & Noble

And where can you find the multi-talented Jessica?
String Bridge Website and merchandise
blog: The Alliterative Allomorph

I'm SO impressed with this soundtrack - it's absolutely gorgeous! And wait until tomorrow - Jessica's got a special surprise for you all. Hint: don't click on those 'buy me' links just yet... :) I'll have the breaking news for you here!

I've occasionally heard a song I thought would match my characters or plot, but to create an entire soundtrack for my story? WAY beyond my skill level! How about you - ever thought of creating music to go with your story?

Monday, November 7, 2011


If you need a laugh, click on the video - it's under a minute. And it's Dory - speaking whale!

I could have posted the 'Just keep swimming' link instead, but this one cracks me up. Anyway, it's NaNo and I haven't been able to visit the bloggy-verse as much as I'd like. It's also been report card season -- which isn't nearly as much fun.

Don't you think the writers for these animated movies are brilliant? I do - the humour is priceless. And then the actors bring it to life. Hopefully our characters do the same for our dialogue.

Anyway, I felt like it was a good time for a smile and Dory/Ellen is always a great choice for that!

Which animated movie/character cracks you up or makes you smile?

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Keeping Open Minds

Woot! Today is the day Susan Kaye Quinn releases another book - Open Minds.

Isn't that a great cover?! Here's the blurb from Susan's site:

Sixteen-year-old Kira Moore is a zero, someone who can't read thoughts or be read by others. Zeros are outcasts who can't be trusted, leaving her no chance with Raf, a regular mindreader and the best friend she secretly loves. When she accidentally controls Raf's mind and nearly kills him, Kira tries to hide her frightening new ability from her family and an increasingly suspicious Raf. But lies tangle around her, and she's dragged deep into a hidden world of mindjackers, where being forced to mind control everyone she loves is just the beginning of the deadly choices before her.

Unique concept! Love it.

In honour of Susan's release today, I'm talking about #keepingOPENMINDS. As a teacher this is a topic near and dear to my heart. I've taught a lot of kids over the years. None of them fit the same mould. Thankfully.

It's difficult growing up. No one feels like they fit in all the time. We all have moments (sometimes long ones) of insecurity and self-doubt. Some kids grow up tough. Without love. Without security. Without any way to build their own self-esteem.

Then comes school. Where some people are looking for someone lower on the list. Kids who are so broken or hurt inside, they can only feel good by making someone else feel bad.

Teasing. Bugging. Nit-picking. Name calling. Poking. Tripping... You know.

Until one day the Ray of Sunshine walks in. The one who IS secure in his/her own skin. The one who likes people. All people. The one who makes an effort. Reaches out. Cares. The one who lets the bully's words slide off with a smile. Who knows the world is better when we're all unique - when we all have a chance to shine. The one whose mind is always open.

These Sunshines with their open minds do more than reach out. They save. They bring back from the brink. I've seen kids who felt helpless and hopeless, kids who've attempted the unthinkable, kids who had no one who now suddenly have someone in their corner. That sunshine spreads, grows, nurtures. And the kids are no longer helpless, hopeless or alone.

#keepingOPENMINDS is what it's all about. Try it.

So, have you met any of these Sunshines? Any stories to share?

PRIZES! Susan Kaye Quinn is giving away an Open Books/Open Minds t-shirt, mug, and some fun wristbands to celebrate the Virtual Launch Party of Open Minds (Book One of the Mindjack Trilogy)! (Check out the prizes here.) 

Three ways to enter (you can have multiple entries):
1)      Leave a comment here or at the Virtual Launch Party post

2)      Tweet (with tag #keepingOPENMINDS)
3)     Facebook (tag @AuthorSusanKayeQuinn)
  • Example: Celebrate the launch of paranormal/SF novel OPEN MINDS by @AuthorSusanKayeQuinn for a chance to win Open Books/Open Minds prizes!
Open Minds (Book One of the Mindjack Trilogy) by Susan Kaye Quinn is available in e-book (Amazon US (also UK, France and Germany), Barnes & Noble, Smashwords) and print (Amazon, Createspace, also autographed copies available from the author).

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Gutting Pumpkins

My pumpkin carving skills are limited. Especially since I hate the smell of pumpkin and usually use markers instead. :)

This guy's skills are slightly superior. Check out these samples...

For lots more check out The Pumpkin Gutter site. How are your pumpkin carving skills?

Hope you all have a Halloween weekend - watch out for those goblins!
P.S. Are you ready for NaNo?

Monday, October 24, 2011

NaNo Nuttiness

Hi! I'm over at From the Write Angle today talking about NaNo. I love National Novel Writing Month, (NaNoWriMo or NaNo for short). Not sure if I'm Nano-ing or not this year (yes, it's a verb!) - what about you? Any good NaNo stories to share?

Please pop on over to discuss how writing a 50k novel in 30 days is/isn't nuts!
I've turned off comments in the hope you'll visit me there! Thanks :)

Thursday, October 20, 2011


It's hard to beat a person that never gives up - Babe Ruth

Okay, so the writer in me wants to gently remind the Babe that people are 'who' and things are 'that', but I sure agree with the sentiment. There has been lots and lots and lots of great news in the bloggy-verse lately - and it's so exciting to celebrate success!!!

It always gives me hope. I'm on the right road. I'm heading in the right direction. Sure, at times it seems I'm moving more slowly than an arthritic snail, but I'm moving! I've seen a lot of sad faces in the bloggy-verse lately too. I hope these people see the hope and joy these successes bring.

Success is contagious - I say, bring it on!

(Edited to add one more 'lots' - another piece of GREAT news!!!) :)

Friday, October 14, 2011

Forward ... March!

Matthew MacNish & Alex J Cavanaugh have brewed up another blogfest! In this one, we`re to choose 3 blogs we think others will enjoy, but who may fly under the radar. SO HARD!!!!

I have so many great blog friends - it`s pretty impossible to select just 3. But, them`s the rules, so...

Terry Lynn Johnson - Terry`s MG adventure Dogsled Dreams was THE favourite book in my classroom last year. They loved Rebecca and her dream to run her dogs in a dogsled race. It`s a fabulous story. As an added bonus, Terry is a true outdoor adventurer herself. She kayaks and canoes all over the place and has had some hysterical adventures!

Riley Redgate over at In the Jungle - Riley`s a young aspiring author and is having a blast with her blog. I originally met Riley over at Agent Query Connect. She`s very talented and her sense of humour is quick and often surprising. You`ll love her spirit!

Mindy McGinnis over at Writer, Writer, Pants on Fire! - Mindy - known over at Agent Query Connect as BBC (Big Black Cat) has a fantastic blog. She has several series she runs with some rather unusual names. SAT (Successful Author Talk), BOA (Bloggers of Awesome) & SHIT (Submission Hell - It`s True). Yup - you can tell you`re going to like Mindy already, can`t you? :)

So, there you have it! 3 of the many fabulous bloggers I adore! Hope you have fun visiting! :)

Monday, October 10, 2011

Marvelous Middle Grade Monday: Maniac Magee

Shannon Whitney Messenger created Marvelous Middle Grade Mondays to celebrate some fabulous MG books. This week I've decided to play along! :) Check out Shannon's place to see who else is playing.

Maniac Magee by Jerry Spinelli

This is a fabulous book! On the surface its a light-hearted book about a boy who's trying to find his place. On deeper levels it's about so much more: racism, kindness, friendship, courage, risk-taking, love, the power of books, and the importance of education.

Spinelli is a master at making kids laugh. The situations Maniac gets into are hilarious and daring and plain ol' fun. Maniac is a great kid who wants an address and a family to go with it. He copes with all the traumas and disasters of his life by running. When he runs into a town firmly divided into black and white, he wants to stay. Wants to belong. He doesn't 'see' the colours, doesn't understand the divisions and that helps everyone around him do the same.

My students always love this book when I read it aloud. It's full of fun and adventure. And they LOVE the messages the story contains. We have tons of conversations and they're very thankful that our world doesn't have problems like racism anymore. And yes, I teach in a school with kids from many different cultures! Don't you just love kids??? :)

What other books do you know of that deal successfully with serious topics in a light-hearted manner?

Friday, October 7, 2011


It's our Thanksgiving weekend up here. Yay for turkey and stuffing and all the goodies that go along with it!

Being thankful's important. Here's a few of the things I'm thankful for today:
  • family
  • kids
  • laughter
  • imagination
  • love
  • sunshine
  • fall leaves
  • raspberries
  • magic
  • books
  • chai tea
  • music
  • best crit buddies in the bloggy-verse
  • hope
  • Rolo ice cream
  • you!
Happy weekend, Thanksgiving or otherwise, to everyone!!! Enjoy :)

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Banned Books Week

As most of you know, this has been Banned Books Week in the US. We Canadians have our Freedom to Read week in the new year. I love that the weeks are different - we get to celebrate twice!

I don't think it's any secret that I always let my own kids read widely when they were growing up and I encourage my students to do the same. I've never had a student read beyond his/her emotional yet. They always put down those books, call them 'boring' and choose something at their level. Strong readers will encounter mature topics earlier than other readers, but I've never found one not able to handle it.

I like skimming the lists to see how many are in my classroom. Kinda fun! Here's a Wikipedia List of the top 100 most commonly banned books. I have around 40 from this list in my MG class.

RL Stine's Goosebump series always makes these lists. They are 'horror' books - but they're usually more comedy than real suspense. One year I taught a girl in Grade 6 who had never read a book on her own. Too hard. I read one of the Goosebumps books into a tape recorder and she read/listened to it via headphones during our silent reading time. She asked for me another. And another. I couldn't keep up. So she told me she'd go ahead and try one on her own. She read two on her own that year.

I had her again in Grade 7. She read 17 more Goosebumps books that year. And then she tried the Fear Street series (tougher reading level). Then she moved on to more.

She came back to visit me years later and told me those books saved her. They opened her to the world of books and they helped her cope with a less than loving home life. She finished high school and college and was working towards owning her own business last I saw her.

She couldn't read more than a couple of dozen words at the beginning of Grade 6.

She read banned books.


What's your favourite banned book?

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Swimming with the Fishies!

Another buddy of mine over at From the Write Angle is publishing his ebook! Pete Morin's Diary of a Small Fish is now available. Pete has an awesome sense of humour and this is sure to be a great book. Here's the blurb:

When Paul Forte is indicted by a federal grand jury, everyone suspects prosecutor Bernard (don’t call him “Bernie”) Kilroy has more on his mind than justice. Then the FBI agent in charge of Paul’s case gives him a clue to the mystery: Kilroy is bent on settling an old family score, and he’s not above breaking the law to do it.

Paul is already dealing with the death of his parents and divorce from a woman he still loves. Now, with the support of an alluring grand juror, Paul must expose the vindictive prosecutor’s own corruption before the jury renders a verdict on his Osso Buco.
Sounds great, doesn't it?

Pete Morin has been a trial attorney, a politician, a bureaucrat, a lobbyist, and a witness (voluntary and subpoenaed) to countless outrages. He combines them all in this debut novel.
Pete’s short fiction has appeared in NEEDLE, A Magazine of Noir, Words With Jam, 100 Stories for Haiti, and Words to Music. He published many of them in a collection titled Uneasy Living, available on Amazon and Smashwords.

When he is not writing crime fiction or legal mumbo jumbo, Pete plays blues guitar in Boston bars, enjoys the beach, food and wine with his wife, Elizabeth, and their two adult children, and on rare occasion, punches a fade wedge to a tight pin surrounded by sand or water. He lives in a money pit on the seacoast south of Boston, in an area once known as the Irish Riviera.

Pete is represented by Christine Witthohn of Book Cents Literary Agency.
Here are the links where you can check out Diary of a Small Fish! It's only $2.99! :)
Barnes & Noble
It's so exciting to have another friend step into the ebook waters. I'm buying a ton of ebooks lately. How about you? Have you been reading more books electronically too?

Monday, September 26, 2011

Straddling Genres

I'm over at From the Write Angle today talking about what to do if your story straddles more than one genre. How do you address that in your query letter? I hope you'll pop on over and join in the discussion.

I've turned off the comments here in the hope you'll hop on over there :) Thanks!

Monday, September 19, 2011

Worst Movie Ever!

Ninja blogger Alex J. Cavanaugh is at it again. This time we're talking the WORST movies ever. So much fun! Be sure to check out Alex's place for the links to other participants! :)

Okay, I have to preface this by saying I don't watch tons of movies. I tend to wait them out and find out what the reviews are before I watch them. So I haven't actually seen that many terrible ones. But...

I'm a big Star Trek fan. This is not a secret. However, even I was bored out of my skull during most of the first Star Trek movie made. I think I almost fell asleep in the scene where they flew over V'ger - longest, most boring scene ever. The best thing about this movie? They didn't give up and actually made more - so I got to see Wrath of Khan! :)

I don't remember it very well, but when we were little, we watched The Blob with my family. It was supposed to be a horror movie (I think - unless it was supposed to be a parody??), but we laughed all the way through it. :)

Those are 2 of the worst movies I've seen. How about you? What's the worst movie you've watched?

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

If I Could Be...

The wonderful Talli Roland is releasing her 2nd book in ebook format today. Of course you remember her great debut novel, The Hating Game. Her new book is Watching Willow Watts and it is fabulous!! The main character, Willow, decides to take on the identity of Marilyn Monroe in the book, so Talli thought it would be fun to have a blog party finding out who we'd like to be. Check out Talli's blog for a list of everyone who is participating today :)

In reality, I'd choose to be myself, but I love this kind of thing, so let's play. Lots of choices immediately come to mind. Michaelangelo, whose mind would be an incredible place to visit. Roberta Bondar the first woman Canadian to travel in space. Nora Roberts whose books have brought such enjoyment to so many. JRR Tolkein so I could live in the mind that created Middle Earth. Billy Joel or Elton John - to know the power of such musical talent. Jacques Cousteau whose explorations of the sea are legendary. Jane Goodall. David Suzuki. My grandmother...

And then there are the characters: Anne Shirley. Jo March. Sam Gamgee. Katniss Everdeen. Maniac Magee. Nancy Drew. Hercule Poirot.

So many great choices! I should probably choose a real person, but, for today (I might change my mind tomorrow!) I'd choose to be...

Lessa from Anne McCaffrey's Dragon Riders of Pern series. I've loved this series for years. Can you imagine riding a gold dragon and fighting thread? Lessa didn't lead the easiest life - none of dragon riders do - but it was also full of challenge, joy, and dragons! Love it! (I'm frest out of dragon rider leathers, so I took the easy way out and posted a picture instead!)

Don't forget to check out Talli's new book - here's the link to
So, tell me, who would you be?

Sunday, September 11, 2011


My good friend, Calista Taylor, has released her first novel! Virdis is a wonderful steampunk mystery laced with a hot and steamy (pun most definitely intended!) romance.

The main character, Phoebe, creates an herbal, Virdis, which entrances the elite of Victorian London because of the way it enhances the senses. Phoebe's a fabulous character - she's strong and intelligent and she refuses to be constrained by the strict Victorian rules. You're going to love her!

When one of the guests at Phoebe's club is murdered and her lover (who happens to be a very handsome charming tinkerer) returns from a mission to help the Cause, Phoebe's life is thrown into chaos. And the stakes get upped from there. Calista comes up with incredible twists and turns in the plot and she's not afraid to tackle any subject. Kind of reminds me of Phoebe... :)

Calista herself is incredibly creative. She created the fabulous cover herself. She's also currently working on a steampunk craft book - and she's making all the crafts herself. This book will be published by Fox Chapel Publishing - the tentative date is May 2012. I can't even sew on a button...

Virdis is currently available on Amazon for $0.99 and for FREE on Smashwords. Click on the links to take you there. The 2nd book in the Virdis series will be available soon, so you won't have long to wait! Enjoy!

Thursday, September 8, 2011


As you probably know, I'm not the savviest person when it comes to html and technical issues. I can do a lot of computer things well, but these things... not so much. Our family motto often is, "Technology hates me..." Yeah, not great as mottos go, but often accurate. :)

So, somehow someone attached some nasty html stuff (malware) to my blog. Several kind souls left me DMs and emails letting me know there was a warning up when they hit my blog. I'd never heard the word malware and when I checked out my blog, I couldn't see anything wrong.

I Googled the problem and found some helpful sites. The first scan told me there were no viruses. The 2nd said I had 'suspicious' html attached to my blog. Hmmm....

I Googled some more. Then I had to verify I owned the blog. Surprisingly difficult to do. Especially because the code they gave me didn't work. And then I had to insert html into the code section of the blog template - you know the section - the one with the nonsense words, letters, numbers running around knowing more than me. Yeah, that one. I had to find a spot and insert code.

And cross my fingers, toes, eyes & nose when I pressed Save Changes. I tend to break universes when I Save Changes. Surprisingly it (finally) worked. That of course took a while and only verified I owned the blog.

The technical explanations on how to find & safely remove malware are written in... okay, I'm not sure what language it is, but I don't speak it. (I REALLY need to take a course.)

I eventually guessed deduced that the problem was hiding in my blog roll. So, my apologies, but the blog roll had to go. I've since rescanned my blog and it says Clean (yay!!!). The Google Gods & Goddesses haven't emailed me back yet, but the warning screen appears to be gone.

So I hope no one else gets this malware thingy, but I thought I'd warn you that it's going around. I've heard of several people who've had it.

I run daily virus scans and update my virus thingy everyday. That didn't seem to matter. I don't know how it happened, so I don't know what advice to give. Just thought I'd warn you! Hope you stay safe!

Friday, September 2, 2011

Back to Business

Wow! Labour Day weekend is here. Hard to imagine. Summer has FLOWN by -- again. Can't be because I keep getting older can it???

My summer was filled with...

A lot of this,

A little of this,
A LOT of this,

A whole bunch of this,

A lot of this too (I revamped my whole Math program)

And best of all, lots and lots of this,
So what was your favourite part of summer? Are you ready for fall?

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Things I Don't Understand...

... people I don't know/follow on Twitter who send me only a link. Do they really think I'm stupid enough to click on it?

... people who circle me on Google+ when they have no interest in writing. My very limited profile mentions I'm a writer. Actually that's all it mentions - I'm a writer & I'm female. All the people in my circles are interested in writing or books. I'm not interested in accounting. Or international business. Or banking trends. Or military/political/religious organizations. And (huge surprise) I'm not going to circle you back to have bigger numbers.

... obsessions with numbers

... people who circle/follow me, but who don't speak the same language I do

... where summer has gone

... people who tweet about themselves in the 3rd person

... why my parsley won't grow back

... how the dust bunnies multiply so quickly. What ARE they doing in those corners?

... why slashing and burning all those redundant phrases in my ms makes me giddy with joy

... why it's so much fun to follow these characters on their journeys

How about you? Any things you don't understand? Any answers?

Monday, August 22, 2011

Star Trek Blogfest

Two pieces of business for today! First off, I'm over at From the Write Angle today posting about settings - what I've learned so far & I'm looking for tips. I hope you'll pop on over! :)

And now for the fun stuff...

The lovely Ellie Garret has wonderful taste - she's a Star Trek fan! She's hosting the Star Trek As We Know It Blogfest today. Click on her link to get the list of all the participants.

I've always loved Star Trek. No one in my family has ever liked science fiction or fantasy. In fact, they all hated it then and hate it still. I grew up in a house with only 1 TV. When I stumbled on a Star Trek (orignial series) rerun one day, I fell in love. And my sci fi hating family let me watch it. Every week.

I used to make up scripts in my head when I was supposed to be sleeping. I never wrote any of them down, but I would 'rehearse' them over and over in my head until the characters were in the right spots, the scenes were set and the lines were perfect! I've since watched every episode of every series and all the movies - multiple times. Love it all :)

So my 5 favourite Star Trek things...

  • Spock. Love the ears and the eyebrow! Love the clear thinking, the bluntness, and the humour and sarcasm bathed in logic.
  • Data. I think Brent Spiner does a fabulous job playing the straight man throughout the series and the movies. Love the scene when he gets his emotion chip working and hates the drink :)
  • The Voyage Home. I know! Cheesiness at its best! I love the whales, the jokes, Spock on the bus - all of it!
  • Wrath of Khan. Who doesn't love Khan? Such a great movie - cried like a baby the first time I watched it - you know the scene!
  • the whole world & philosophy. I think Star Trek in all its manifestations attracted me because of the hope for the future. How can you not love a future where money isn't the reason people do things? Where people are equals (although this took Roddenberry some doing & he never quite got to showcase his true vision) and always striving to know more, do more and be more? I can't resist!
So, there you have it. I enjoyed the ST new movie too and can't wait to see where they're going to go with it! Don't forget to check out Ellie's blog for more!

So, how about you? Are you a Star Trek fan? If not, what's a series from childhood that's stayed with you?


Please remember to pop on over to From the Write Angle and talk about settings! Thanks :)

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

What's Your Favourite?

So, I'm in the middle of editing one of my stories - with a few side trips into revision territory.

I've been spending the last few days slashing and burning. My first drafts tend to have a log of redundant phrases. A lot! I don't worry about them at all when I'm drafting and not too much when I'm revising - I leave them for a treat for later. Because attacking that draft with my editing sword is FUN! I love tightening - finding the redundancies. It's my favourite part of the whole revising/editing process.

I'm not sure why the slashing makes me smile, but it does. I've always liked swords ...

So, what's your favourite part of the editing process? Do you like to wield your sword as well?

Friday, August 12, 2011

Slower Than a Sickly Snail!

Oh those rewrites! I'd like to rewrite as fast as Superman. Faster than a speeding bullet. Sadly I often feel  more like this guy here ...

It amazes me when I read about some writers who speed through those revisions and rewrites. I can slash and burn through an editing round pretty quickly, but rewrites take me FOREVER!!!

I'm hoping to get better at this, but I need to let the ideas roll around in my head for a bit before I tackle anything. I have to mull it over, see how the new pieces should fit. It often takes me days before I can tackle rewriting a scene. One scene. *sigh*

Are you Superman or SuperSnail when it comes to rewrites? Any tips?

Monday, August 8, 2011

A Scary Good Book!

Great news!! Anita Laydon Miller is releasing a new ebook TODAY! It's a middle grade mystery called A SCARY GOOD BOOK. I can't wait for this one. I loved her 1st book, EARTHLING HERO - and so did my students when I read it aloud to them last year.

Here's what Anita has to say about her new book...

Twelve-year-old Hannah Stone tells everyone she’s “okay,” but that’s a total lie. Two years ago her dad was killed by a hit-and-run driver. The detective in charge of the case never found the driver, but he somehow managed to get Hannah’s mom to fall in love with him. The jerk. And speaking of love, Hannah’s developed a major crush on Ollie Ortega—he’s her best friend and the only one she can talk to—a crush on Ollie is so not a good idea.

Also not a good idea? Searching for a missing person with no help from the police. But that’s exactly what Hannah does when she finds messages in library books—underlined words that point her in the direction of someone who needs her.

And, suddenly, Hannah’s even further from okay. She breaks into a library, gets caught in a kidnapper’s web, and is stalked by her dad’s killer, all in an effort to save a life…but can she save herself, too?
Doesn't it sound great? Can't wait. Here's the link for this terrific kids' ebook - it's only 99 cents!!

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Stolen Books

Can't remember who posted the link, or where the link led to (don't judge!), but a few days ago, someone on Twitter posted a link to an article citing the most stolen books of all time. Apparently some books are stolen so often, bookstores regularly keep them out of sight behind the counter. Bizarre!

It started me thinking about my classroom. I lose books all the time. A lot of the books probably get lost in kids' bedrooms which are notoriously scary places. By the time they clean their rooms and find them, some of them are probably too embarrassed to bring them back. I've had several kids return books years later. One girl came in with a stack of over 20 books one day. She was moving out of her parents' home and had finally cleaned up! :)

I also teach a lot of kids who don't have much. Of anything. We often assume everyone has cell phones and computers, but I've taught many, many kids who don't have either. Or a vehicle. Or enough food for lunch or dinner or breakfast. So if they 'forget' to return a book they love, I couldn't care less.

I don't use a sign out sheet for my books - too much fuss. I just let them borrow. Most of them get returned, but I probably lose 20 or 30 a year. Maybe more.

I think the most stolen/lost book in my room is The Hobbit. At one point I had 6 or 7 copies of it - all with different covers. I used them to discuss the power of covers, what attracts the eye, colour and font choices...

How many do I have now? None. I'll buy another one this summer. Can't have a classroom without the Hobbit - especially with the movie buzz!

So, if you were going to steal a book, which one would you take?

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Easing In

First off, thanks to you all for your best wishes and kind thoughts. Without saying too much about the situation, a very little guy in our close circle has been diagnosed with a serious medical condition. His folks are the best, but we're all helping out and will continue to do so. Family and friends come first. Always. So, thanks again. We appreciate every kind word and thought sent our way - they do indeed make us stronger.

So, obviously, writing has been pushed to the background for the last little bit, but it's pushing its way forward again. It always does! :)

It's only been a couple of weeks, but it's amazing how much momentum and rhythm I've lost. I tend to be the kind of writer who works in spurts anyway, but this has been a long stretch. I'm right at the climax scene in one story, and in the middle of that dreaded rewrite in the other. I think I'm just going to reread the last chapter or so of the one I'm near the end of and ease back into it that way. Or maybe I'll work on the query letter to immerse myself back in the story. Hmmm.

What hints do you have? How do you ease yourself back into the routine and rhythm when you've not been able to write for one reason or another?

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Things I've Learned This Week & A Curve Ball

I'm pretty good at doing a large variety of things on the computer. But, start talking codes, html, FB, hardware, updating templates, and other terrifying things and you've lost me. I live in fear of somehow breaking the universe. I changed the blog template...once. Took me almost a week to get the thing to work properly.

Okay, that's a lie. It took me a week to get about 80% of the stuff working properly. The rest never has and I gave up. Yeah.

One of the things that never worked was the little orange and white coloured icon at the top - with the terrifying name of RSS - really simple somethingorother. Really simple. Yeah. Didn't have a clue what it meant or what it did.

Now it works! It really was kinda simple too. Hmph.

How did I figure it out? Google +. Some of you may know I never joined FaceBook - didn't need another site to absorb my time. But, I got pulled into Google + -- so many people talked about how much fun they were having so I signed up.

Don't really know what I'm doing - haven't spent much time there yet. I like the circle idea - being able to talk to different people when you post certain items. Debbi Ohi (inky elbows) is a genius. Follow her. She has lots of tips.

Are you on Google +? Do you have RSS enabled?
Are you more techie than me ... wait, that would obviously be yes, so don't answer that!!

On another note, life has thrown a rather enormous curve ball at our family. This particular curve ball is going to absorb a lot of our time and energy and I probably won't be around much while we're figuring out how to deal with everything invovled. Send us some good thoughts if you've got a minute and I'll be out and about when I can manage it. :)

Saturday, July 16, 2011

People Watching - Vacation Style

Like most other writers, I love people watching. I saw lots of interesting folks on my recent mini-vacation. Here are a few...

In the breakfast room at the hotel one morning, a woman and her son ate breakfast near us. He was about 8 - a real cutie and polite to boot. The woman took a cell phone call as soon as we sat down. The boy finished his breakfast within a minute or two of our arrival. He waited while his mom spoke. And waited. And waited. At one point he whispered, "I'm full." She ignored him. Didn't even make eye contact with him. She kept her head down the entire conversation. As we were leaving, I grabbed a pen from my purse and ripped a couple of pages out of my notebook so he could at least draw some stuff. He smiled and me and said a shy, 'Thank you.' She didn't even look up. Makes me wonder how she raised such a sweetie.

On the beach, an elderly couple walked along the water's edge. Slowly. They had big floppy hats on and they'd rolled their pantlegs up. They carried their sandals in their outside hands so they could hold hands with each other as they strolled. Every once in a while one or the other would raise their joined hands to point out something of interest. I want to be them.

One multi-generational family hung out on the beach just in front of us. The gang talked a woman in her late-fifties into trying out a paddle-board type thing. It was wider than a surfboard but about as long. She knelt and paddled around for a bit. Then, with a little prompting, she stood up and paddled. At first she was pretty shaky, but she kept at it - to the cheers of her family. Then one of the young teens snuck up behind her and shook the board. With a shriek she flipped into the water, came up spouting water and giggling like a young girl. Awesome!! She returned the favour later on :)

A rather buff young man tossed a football on the beach with his younger brother. A group of young ladies arrived and set up nearby. Bring on the eye contact, giggling, whispers and the poor little brother having to catch footballs thrown much harder than they'd been before the young ladies arrived.

The thing that surprised me the most however was how many people I saw texting. On the beach. All the time. I think hubby & I were the only people over the age of 12 who didn't have cell phones with them. In the evenings with the sun setting on the horizon in all its glory, there were multiple couples who strolled the water's edge. Cell phones in hand. Texting with someone else. So much for the romance of the moment!

I kept expecting these guys to show up...

I wonder which of these characters will make it into my next story. So, have you spotted anyone fun in your people watching lately?

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Out & About

Apparently it's the week for it! Today I'm visiting over at Mindy McGinnis' blog - Writer, Writer, Pants on Fire. If you haven't met Mindy yet, you're really missing out. She's also known as BBC (Big Black Cat) over at Agent Query Connect. She's represented by Adriann Ranta of Wolf Literary Services. I can't WAIT for her book to come out - it's going to be fantastic!

Mindy's asking me some great questions about blogging today - I hope you'll pop on over here to visit. You'll love Mindy's humour and grace and plain ol' nuttiness - she's so much fun! :)

Monday, July 11, 2011


How do you feel about letting kids read whatever they like? Do you think parents and teachers should control what kids read?

Please pop on over to From the Write Angle and join me for a discussion today! I'd really love to hear what you think. See ya there!

(I'm turning off blog comments in the hopes you'll pop on over and visit me there! THANKS!)

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

The Loop

I'll be out of it. The loop that is. :)

We're heading out of town for the next few days. No Internet. No computer. No writing at all! Yikes!! On the positive side, we're going to be having a whole lot of fun! I think this is our only out of town trip for the summer, so we plan on concentrating completely on relaxing and enjoying.

I won't be around to respond to comments or to visit your blogs until late in the weekend or early next week. Sorry!

Hope you all have a fun few days! Anyone else have anything fun planned?

Saturday, July 2, 2011

I Missed It!

Canada Day was yesterday & I missed it! Well, I didn't miss it in real life - we had a blast with family! - but I missed it here on the blog.

So, in honour of my nation's birthday, I'd like to celebrate a few of my favourite Canadian authors.

Margaret Atwood -- great poetry & novels! I first discovered her in high school. I love the poems in The Circle Game. I always introduce a few of her poems to my students to show them poetry isn't all love poems or 'bippity-boppity-boo' stuff. They love it!

Farley Mowat -- fabulous adventures - fiction and nonfiction. Never Cry Wolf is my favourite (I've mentioned it before). Another is Virunga. This is a biography of Dian Fossey's life - with Mowat's narrative entwined with entries from Fossey's diary. Amazing stuff!

Gordon Korman -- incredibly talented and prolific author. He's written tons of MG and YA books. He started writing when he was a kid - and produced The MacDonald Hall series. Bruno & Boots get into hilarious adventures at a boarding school.

Lucy Maud Montgomery -- of course! You all know how I feel about her :)

Talli Roland -- she's living in the UK, but she was born in Canada, so she counts! The Hating Game is a fun-filled book. Great romance story with hysterical escapades on a reality TV show.

Dennis Lee -- awesome poet for kids. I think my kids had at least 20 of his poems memorized before they were 4. They adored his stuff! Here's an example from memory (hope it's right!)
Here is the story of Freddy my friend,
He ran out in traffic,
And that is the end!
I know! They loved it. More faves were Jelly Belly & Annie & Ernie - fun stuff! :)

Hope everyone has a marvelous weekend! Happy 4th of July to all my US buddies!!

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Audience Matters

RS Mellette, another FTWAer, had a post that really got me thinking. You can find it here.

There's apparently a wide range of opinions about how much attention an artist (of any kind) should pay to the audience. Strangely, I hadn't thought much about this before.

I teach middle grade aged kids. I have them think about their audience all the time when they're doing their work. Writing a letter to a company to discuss their product requires a very different tone than texting a friend. Drawing a picture for yourself is different from producing a piece of art to display in the hallway. Preparing a slideshow to share with your class is different from picking photos to display as your wallpaper.

Audience is important.

Audience affects how you create whatever it is you're creating. When the kids are trying to decide on the form their creation is going to take, I tell them if they think about the purpose and the audience it should tell them what form to use. You don't write a letter to the queen starting with " 'sup? "

So, should the audience affect the writer? I'd say yes - especially if a writer wants to be published.

Even if a writer writes for herself/himself, the writer is writing to please the audience.

I don't mean you ONLY write to the audience - that wouldn't be any fun at all. You need to write your story with your flair - but I think you have to at least keep your audience in mind.

What do you think?

Monday, June 20, 2011

Favourite Book Challenge Blogfest

The lovely Teralyn Rose Pilgrim over at A Writer's Journey is hosting the Favourite Book Challenge Blogfest from June 20 - 22.

In her words:

1. Pick your top five favorite books

2. Between Jun 20 and 22, write one line of what each book is about and then write one line of why you liked it. Think of it like a twitter pitch for other people’s work. Semi-colons are cheating, but you can use them anyway.

3. Go to other blogs and discuss the books.
Not as easy as it sounds!

I went with 5 of my classic favourites -- books I have read multiple times and still love. In no particular order ...

Anne of Green Gables by Lucy Maud Montgomery
A mischevious orphan worms her way into the hearts of elderly siblings - & a boy who entices & irritates her

Why I love it: It's full of joy, sweetness & fun, plus it brings back so many memories of childhood!

And Then There Were None by Agatha Christie
10 not-so-nice folks invited to an island then killed 1 by 1 following instructions of a child's poem

Why I love it: It's a great mystery & I've read it to all my grade 8 classes - who loved it!

The Lord of the Rings by JRR Tolkein
A hobbit needs to return the One Ring of Power to its fiery origins in order to destroy it & save all of Middle Earth

Why I love it: Tolkein was my first introduction to fantasy - love the scope of his imagination (to paraphrase Anne of GG)

The Giver by Lois Lowry
A boy & an old man decide to help their community by saving them from sameness & giving them pain

Why I love it: Incredibly well written and imagined - a terrifying world of what we could easily become.

Never Cry Wolf by Farley Mowat
A man is hired by government to prove wolves are dangerous & killing all the caribou -- not exactly what he finds out.

Why I love it: My favourite Mowat book - honest, perceptive, adventurous and full of wry humour.

Whew! (It might take me a few days to get around to all the other blogs - We're in the last 2 weeks of school & life is CRAZY!!)
What book can you read over and over and still love?

Friday, June 17, 2011

Oh no - I'm It!

I've been tagged by two lovely ladies: Janet Summer Johnson and Shannon O'Donnell. If you haven't met them yet, you've really got to visit - they're terrific! :)

Okay, here we go...

Are you hot?

Nope. Not a chance. I have a thyroid disorder & I'm always cold. :)
Upload a picture or wall paper you are using at the moment.

 Nope - he's not mine, he's the son of a family member. And he's the cutest cutie-patootie going! :)

When was the last time you ate chicken meat?
Last night. Delicious! Marinated & bbq-ed. With new potatoes, mushrooms & zucchini - awesome!

The Song(s) you listened to recently?
Beautiful by the Barenaked Ladies
California Dreamin' by Queen Latifah
Take it Easy by The Eagles
LOVE my iTunes - it's always on shuffle and you never really know what's coming up next!

What were you thinking as you were doing this?
Help! I'm terrible at these things!

Do you have nicknames?
Not really. Finnegan for some strange reason when I was a kid, but that's it.

Tag eight Blogger friends.

1. Riley Redgate
2. Laura Pauling
3. Lisa Gail Green
4. Laura Marcella
5. Julie Musil
6. Susan Fields
7. Rosalind Adams
8. Beth

Who's listed as number one?
Riley. I met Riley over at Agent Query Connect. She's an amazing teen writer who's got a great eye for detail and a very generous heart!

Say something about number 5.
Julie is one of the sweethearts of the bloggy-verse. She always makes me think and her approach to life is full of optimism.

How did you get to know number 3?
It's been such a long time, I'm not really sure. Lisa is always so much fun on Twitter! Love Lisa's twisty takes on all things paranormal over at her blog!

How about number 4?
Laura's zebra always makes me smile! I think I met Laura through her Monday quote posts - love them!

Leave a message for number 6.
Susan - I love your "about me" description on your blog. I used to think I was the only one with eclectic ideas all over the spectrum. So glad to know I'm not alone!! :)

Leave a lovey-dovey message for number 2.
Laura - you're a total sweetie! I love the way you break down plots - your analysis style totally rocks!

Do number 7 and number 8 have any similarities?
Aside from being 2 of the sweetest people in the bloggy-verse? They both have open, generous hearts and are kind and wondeful ladies!

(Please feel no pressure to complete the tag - it's all about fun, not to cause stress!)

Phew! I made it. I have the HARDEST time with these things. Hope you enjoy meeting 10 of the nicest people in the bloggy-verse (don't forget Janet & Shannon up top!).

So, what's on your computer's background right now??

Monday, June 13, 2011

Who Reads YA?

I'm over at From the Write Angle today discussing the YA market.

Around the bloggy-verse lately I've heard some people say they worry about writing YA because they think the market is too narrow.

Pop on over & let me know what you think. I'll give my opinion too!

I've turned off comments here in the hopes you'll visit me there! Hope to see you :)

Thursday, June 9, 2011


It's provincial testing week in our province, so my students are working hard to show off what they've learned so far. They're not too happy though!

I don't know too many people who love tests, do you?

In our stories, our characters are facing tests of some kind all the time. Sometimes it's a physical test they have to complete. Other times, it's a test of trust. Still others it might be a mystery or puzzle to be solved.

I'm working on that rewrite (yes, still!) and I'm finding although I do test my characters a lot, I let them find the answers too easily. That's why the rewrite is taking so long. I'm having to rip apart and build up my story on every single page. Make it tougher on them, make them really have to work for those answers.

What's your favourite kind of test to throw at your characters: physical, mystery or a matter of trust? Or maybe something completely different?

Monday, June 6, 2011

Fun & Games - Jemi Style

Ninja Blogfest Master Alex J Cavanaugh is at it again!! This time it's all about fun & games! We're to talk about our 3 favourite games of all time. Easy-peasy!

#3 - Trivial Pursuit

I love this game! I'm usually pretty good at general knowledge stuff. I have one of those memories that does NOT work like a filing cabinet. No organized retrieval system here. I prefer to think of my memory as one of those interconnected knots - like Cobble's Knot in Maniac Magee or the one you create when you put a bunch of people in a circle and have them toss around a really big ball of yarn. I do this when I'm teaching food webs to show kids how life is interconnected.

My memory works like this - makes those quick connections with teeny bits of memory - zipping along connections that don't look connected. About 3/4 of the time, my answers are guesses - things that sound right. Lucky for me, they quite often are. Can I explain it? Absolutely not. I just know my family won't play with me any more...

#2 - Scrabble

As a writer, I obviously love words. Scrabble is a lot of fun for us! I ADORE the iPod version. I usually have 15 or 20 games going at all times. I like the teacher function - I love finding out all these new words that don't look like words at all!

#1 - Jeopardy
(C'mon - sing the Think Music - you know you want to!) I've always loved Jeopardy! Probably for the same reasons I love Trivial Pursuit. Before I had kids, I watched it every night. When my daughter was born, she was an extremely colicky baby. She cried for hours and hours and hours. One of the few things that would settle her was when Jeopardy came on. She'd stop instantly and listen.

And, yes, you better believe we taped it and wore out the tape!!

And, nope, my family won't play this one with me either! I'm not allowed to say the answer until the contestants have buzzed in or someone else has answered it. :)

Check out Alex's site for the list of the other players.

So, what is your favourite all-time game?

Saturday, June 4, 2011

If You Need a Boost...

... you only need to go as far as blog buddy Lenny Lee's place -- Lenny's World. He is full of joy and sunshine.

I do believe his avatar is the most appropriate in the entire bloggy-verse! :)

June is crazy busy for me - in our district we have school right until the end of June, & there's provincial testing, track & field, report cards, the usual wrap up stuff, and it's HOT, so it's nuts! When I feel overwhelmed, I head over to Lenny's site for a boost. His posts are not just inspirational, but they're wise too. Always makes me feel better. Scroll through his posts & you'll see what I mean.

Did I mention he's only 11?

So, need a boost? Head on over for some Lenny love - you'll feel better instantly. Thanks for being you, Lenny! You make this world a better place! :)

Have you met Lenny yet? Who do you turn to for that boost?